A Russian spacecraft taking an American and two Russians blasted off Monday from the snow-covered Kazakh steppes in a faultless launch that eased anxiety about the future of U.S. and Russian space programs.
The Soyuz TMA-22 lifted off as scheduled at 8:14 a.m. (0414 GMT) from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome to carry NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin on a mission to the International Space Station.
The launch had been delayed for two months due to the crash of an unmanned Progress cargo ship in August. The failed launch raised doubts about future missions to the station, because the rocket that crashed used the same upper stage as the booster rockets carrying Soyuz ships to orbit.
NASA had warned that the space outpost would need to be abandoned temporarily for the first time in nearly 11 years if a new crew could not be launched before the last of the station's six residents flew back to Earth in mid-November.